K-12 institutions are continuing to shift from paper-based instructional materials to using more digital resources, according to the fall 2015 Speak Up research findings from Project Tomorrow, released on May 5. The move may ultimately impact higher education as well, as these students head into college.
“Many more schools are demonstrating greater use of digital content, tools, and resources today than six years ago and we believe that the increasing adoption of interactive, visual media in the classroom by teachers is the driver for much of that change,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “The explosion in teacher interest and usage of videos and game-based learning could be a harbinger of a new awakening for digital learning.”
Although 30% of teachers report using online textbooks for their classes, up from 21% in 2012, the biggest jumps have been with videos and gaming. Some 68% of teachers showed videos they discovered online (47% in 2012), while 48% of teachers used some type of gaming environment in their classes (just 30% in 2012). Videos were more common in middle- and high-school grades, while gaming was more prevalent in lower elementary classes.
The role of videos and animations in the classroom was somewhat surprising. While teachers often chose these materials to help explain more complicated concepts or instigate class discussion, they were more apt to use videos as a means to introduce a new lesson topic or to review concepts learned in the past—especially for science and math subjects.
The Speak Up survey report, From Print to Pixel, also determined that younger teachers tended to make use of digital materials more often than their older colleagues, although across the board teachers said they need more help in learning the best ways to use digital content in the classroom.